1. Academic integrity will continue to be important to deal with cheating scandals. Academic integrity did not go away but was not the big story in 2012. The big story turned out to be MOOCs: massively open online courses, which according to the New York Times, are “usually free, credit-less and, well, massive.” (The fact that they are credit-less is perhaps the reason academic integrity and reporting on academic cheating was not a significant story this year.) Examples of MOOCs include edX, a nonprofit startup from Harvard and the MIT, which has 370,000 students this fall in its first official courses; Coursera, which features courses from 33 Universities including Stanford, Brown, Princeton, Columbia and Duke; and Udacity, which offers online computer science courses. There was also continued coverage of Khan Academy. We said to expect growth in terms of more people signing up for online courses – so we got that right – but we overstated academic integrity. Grade: B.
2. The most overused phrase in 2012 could be: lean-back/lean-forward user experiences. We also suggested other overused words could be pivot (in when a startup changes its focus and business model), ultrabooks (PCs as sleek and thin as Macbooks), and Post-PC. Lean-back activities are those in which users passively access content, like watching TV while lean-forward activities are those in which the user is actively engaged in consuming content. Despite being validated by Entrepreneur Magazine “Lean In” in its “Jargon of the Month” in May 2012, variations on “lean in” or “lean back” were not overused in 2012. Probably “fiscal cliff” was the most overused phrase in 2012. The Wall St. Journal validated “pivot” with its article, "'Pivoting' Pays Off for Tech Entrepreneurs." We did better with Post-PC, getting validation from the New York Times (“As New iPad Debut Nears, Some See Decline of PCs”), Bloomberg BusinessWeek ("IPad: The PC Killer"), Fortune (“IPad vs. Surface: Let the tablet war begin”) and others. For what it’s worth, the Wall St. Journal nominated another word as most overused word or phrase for 2012: Innovation. The article, "You Call That Innovation?" makes the case that "Companies Love to Say They Innovate, but the Term Has Begun to Lose Meaning." Back to our predictions, we overstated one but got other overused phrases right. Grade: B+.
We'll issue more grades in tomorrow's post.
In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions or comments.